criminal-defense , criminal-law , family-law

Michigan Domestic Violence Deferral Law FAQ

If you are charged with a domestic violence offense, you could face severe punishment if you’re found guilty. 

Fortunately, Michigan’s Domestic Violence Deferral Law (MCL 769.4a) offers first-time offenders a second chance. Under this law, your domestic violence charge can be deferred and even dismissed.

Here, an experienced criminal defense attorney answers some common questions about MCL 769.4a.

What is domestic violence in Michigan?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to control someone in a domestic relationship.

The following can be defined as domestic violence:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Manipulation
  • Economic abuse
  • Stalking
  • Isolating the victim from loved ones
  • Intimidation
  • Sexual abuse
  • Coercion

In Michigan, domestic violence law applies to assault or battery against people who are or were in a domestic relationship with the defendant.

Under Michigan law, you have a domestic relationship with a person if any of these apply:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • You have a child in common
  • Resident or former resident of the same household
  • Dating or formerly dated

What is the domestic violence deferral law?

Michigan’s Domestic Violence Deferral Law, MCL 769.4a, allows first-offense domestic violence charges to be deferred and potentially dismissed. It is meant to be rehabilitative and allows these first-time offenders to keep their records clean.

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a domestic violence offense, you and your defense attorney can request a deferral under this law. A judge can only grant a deferral if the prosecuting attorney and alleged victim also consent.

 Who is eligible for a deferral?

Only not-previously-convicted offenders are eligible for a case deferral and possible dismissal under Michigan’s Domestic Violence Deferral Law. In addition, this program can only be used once by a defendant. If you have already had a domestic violence offense judgment deferred, you will not be eligible a second time.

What happens if you are granted a deferral under MCL 769.4a?

If the judge, prosecuting attorney, and alleged victim agree you can be granted a deferral, the court can place you on probation, and you must fulfill all the terms and conditions imposed by the court to remain on probation.

These terms and conditions may include but aren’t limited to the following:

  • Counseling
  • Anger management courses
  • Drug and alcohol testing, scheduled or random
  • No contact with the alleged victim(s)

The court can, and often will, revoke your probation if you violate any terms of your probation or commit another offense during that period. The consequences of violating probation depend on the judge. However, they may enter a judgment of guilt and sentence you before your probation period ends.

Talk to the Criminal Defense Lawyers at JAD Law

When you or a loved one is charged with domestic violence, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to advocate for you. JAD Law is here to help.  Contact JAD Law today to schedule an appointment.

JAD Law serves several counties across Metro Detroit, Michigan, including Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties.